Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today claimed in Delhi High Court that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five others were doing “everything possible” to delay the proceedings against them in a civil defamation suit filed by him.
Jaitley’s counsel made the statement to this effect before a bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi, after the lawyer representing Kejriwal and others informed the court that they have filed fresh applications seeking a direction to the petitioner to strike off new allegations levelled by him in his replication (a plaintiff’s reply to the defendant’s plea).
“I am opposing this. Today, the matter is for framing of issues. They (defendants) have done everything possible to delay the proceedings,” senior advocate Pratibha Maninder Singh, who appeared for Jaitley, said.
The lawyer appearing for the defendants sought adjournment saying all applications should be heard together. “There is no question of delay. I must have the liberty to argue on behalf of my clients,” the counsel said.
The court, after hearing the submissions, posted the matter for April 29.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Ashutosh, who is one of the defendants in the suit, had earlier filed a similar plea in the court seeking direction to strike off fresh allegations levelled by Jaitley.
Ashutosh had alleged that Jaitley had “exploited the opportunity of filing replication for the purpose of introducing fresh allegations of defamation to make out a fresh case”.
His plea was opposed by Jaitley’s counsel who had said that whatever was said in his reply, was very much part of the main plaint filed before the Joint Registrar.
They had said that replication by the minister was merely an elaboration of the plaint, which is part of the documents, and there was only one quotation which has not been mentioned in the main plaint.
The application was filed in a suit in which Jaitley has sought Rs 10 crore in damages from Kejriwal, Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai for issuing allegedly false and defamatory statements against him and his family in connection with alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) when he was its President.
The minister has already denied all the allegations.
Jaitley had filed the suit in the backdrop of attacks on him by Kejriwal and other AAP leaders over alleged irregularities and financial bungling in DDCA of which he was the president for about 13 years till 2013.
The minister has also filed a criminal defamation complaint in a Delhi court on the same issue. DDCA has also filed a criminal defamation suit against Kejriwal and suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad.